GREENSBORO, N.C. – Duke has spent weeks building consistency and cohesion on the offensive end. That has the 21st-ranked Blue Devils making extra passes, getting better looks and knocking down outside shots.
It also has this freshman-laden bunch within a win of an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship under first-year coach Jon Scheyer.
Kyle Filipowski had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Jeremy Roach hit a huge 3-pointer at the 1:32 mark and Duke held off No. 14 Miami 85-78 in the ACC semifinals on Friday night.
Roach’s 3 from the left wing over Isaiah Wong with the shot clock going down gave Duke a 78-71 lead that Miami couldn’t overcome in a well-played matchup that often resembled a second-weekend NCAA Tournament game.
“I thought it was as high of a level of game as we’ve played,” Scheyer said.
And the fourth-seeded Blue Devils (25-8) did enough late to stay in control, earning a Saturday meeting with either Clemson or Virginia.
Tyrese Proctor hit two free throws with 9.8 seconds left, and Filipowski rebounded Wong’s last-ditch 3-pointer to start Duke’s celebration. Proctor raised his arms and motioned to the home-state crowd for more noise as Duke won its eighth straight game and earned its 17th trip to the title game in the past 25 tournaments.
Wong had 22 points to lead the top-seeded Hurricanes (25-7), who suffered an immediate blow by losing starting forward Norchad Omier to an ankle injury 66 seconds into the game. Miami shot 46.8%, with Wong and Jordan Miller (17 points) leading the attack.
“These guys did a fantastic job of keeping us in the game right until the bitter end and gave ourselves a chance,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “If we could have forced a turnover or made one or two additional shots, it could have been a different outcome.”
Both teams had five players in double figures, with Duke getting 16 points from Dariq Whitehead and 15 from Proctor. The Blue Devils shot 54.9% and made 8 of 16 3-pointers, a showing coming a day after they shot 62% in a rout of Pittsburgh with a tournament-record 27 assists.
“I just think early in the year we were kind of letting the ball stick, and it was sticking in one guy’s hand and that’s been a big thing this whole season,” Roach said. “(Scheyer’s) been telling us all five guys got to touch it. And when all five guys are touching it, everybody has got confidence.”
Duke: The Blue Devils hadn’t allowed an opponent to reach 70 points during their winning streak. That run ended and Miami spent the game hovering around 50% shooting, yet the Blue Devils won because they played with composure and toughness.
Miami: The Hurricanes had lost just once since late January, falling at home to Florida State after blowing a 25-point lead on Feb. 25. The Hurricanes arrived in Greensboro as the tournament’s No. 1 seed for only the second time in program history, the other coming a decade earlier when Miami completed a three-day run to the program’s lone ACC Tournament championship.
Duke made 14 of 16 free throws after halftime, including Whitehead hitting three after being fouled on a 3-pointer with Duke holding a 66-65 lead with 5:12 left. The Blue Devils also committed four second-half turnovers.
Duke avenged a loss for the fourth time this season. The teams split the regular-season meetings, but Miami beat Duke by 32 points on Feb. 6. The Blue Devils have pointed to that game as a turning point.
“We obviously didn’t put our best foot forward last time against Miami and we knew that,” Proctor said. “We proved today that we are a better team.”
Omier, a 6-foot-7 third-year sophomore, came in averaging 14 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds. He was an All-ACC second-team pick by The Associated Press earlier this week.
He went down when he rebounded a missed free throw, landing on the foot of Duke’s Dereck Lively II and rolling his right ankle. That sent him falling to the court and banging his hands on the hardwood in pain.
Omier was helped to the bench, then needed help just to get on his feet before being assisted to the tunnel toward the locker room. The team later tweeted he was out for the game but break any bones.
“Regardless of Norchad playing or not playing, we all got recruited here, we’re all good enough players,” Miller said. “So with that, there’s no excuse. We’ve just got to find a way.”